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Thread: How do you brake in a new clutch?

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    Parts Hero WingZr0's Avatar
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    Question How do you brake in a new clutch?

    I've searched but didn't find a answere. Question is is there a procedure for braking in a new stock clutch? I have a new engine with 1232 miles and clutch with 1500 miles. Is it normal to smell clutch when down shifting? AATCO who installed the clutch says there was no brake in needed. Reason I ask is because I been using the clutch to down shift more rather than using the brakes to stop. I'm not letting go of the clutch pedal all that fast but still get a little smell when ever I do down shift, or is this normal? Worked and still works fine for the first 1200 miles or at least untill I started paying attention once I started intentionally down shifting on purpose. Keep in mind the Z has been parked for awhile and since that time a month later I was rowing through the gears and broke the front input shaft seal in the transmission and begun leaking fluid out the bell housing. But the car was parked a month before that happened and hasn't been driven since so doubt that is related to the question. Thanks Z
    Last edited by WingZr0; 02-20-2010 at 04:00 PM.
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    I always made sure the adjustments were proper and then just drove the same way I drove the old clutch.
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    BREAK in a clutch ? Do what Stephen ^ said . Downshifting and over feathering a clutch will result in premature wear , and it smells like that's what's going on.
    Unless your adjustment is out to lunch , use your brakes to slow down .
    Just my 2 cents worth , no flame intended , man .
    Last edited by Unkle; 02-19-2010 at 05:46 PM.

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    Thanks guys no worries on the flame bro haha, was just curious if I was missing something or not. Like said it works fine but I'll have those adjustments checked when a new trans goes in. Adjustments might of gone off a bit from the new enging install maybe. Pedal is set and still feels right though and takes 1/3rd travel distance to fully disengage. If the clutch is let out slow enough or I can match the revs then no smell, but come off to fast. . . Burn. So yeah, I'll use those brakes
    Last edited by WingZr0; 02-19-2010 at 08:48 PM.
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    Merchant of Cool Z train's Avatar
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    If you smell clutch on a downshift,something is really,REALLY wrong.
    Faster than anyone in Oceanside

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    A tip I got from an experienced racer way back when - "brakes are cheaper and easier to replace than clutches and transmissions."
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    Quote Originally Posted by Z train View Post
    If you smell clutch on a downshift,something is really,REALLY wrong.
    I'm talking from top of fourth to third gear. Still something WAY wrong?
    Quote Originally Posted by Galaxybj View Post
    A tip I got from an experienced racer way back when - "brakes are cheaper and easier to replace than clutches and transmissions."
    Funny cause it's true, I'll pass it along
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    Merchant of Cool Z train's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WingZr0 View Post
    I'm talking from top of fourth to third gear. Still something WAY wrong? Funny cause it's true, I'll pass it along
    Yes.You should not smell clutch AT ALL unless you intentionally slip it.
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    Registered User srbigbutt's Avatar
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    Is it normal to hear some noise when breaking in a new clutch? I hear a noise that sounds like tires chirping when I slip the clutch on a quick start. Its got about 1500 miles on it so far. Works fine.

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    Registered User Walter Moore's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by srbigbutt View Post
    Is it normal to hear some noise when breaking in a new clutch? I hear a noise that sounds like tires chirping when I slip the clutch on a quick start. Its got about 1500 miles on it so far. Works fine.
    Did you have the flywheel resurfaced when the clutch was replaced? Just like brake rotors, the flywheel can get surface irregularities from an old clutch disk, and after replacing the clutch it can take some time for the two to wear into each other if the flywheel isn't resurfaced. (clutch chatter...)
    '71 240Z, Because any fool can drive fast in a straight line.

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    Registered User srbigbutt's Avatar
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    Yeah I got it resurfaced. New pressure plate and clutch.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Z train View Post
    Yes.You should not smell clutch AT ALL unless you intentionally slip it.
    Agreed, and why would you be shifting to 3rd from the top of 4th? Sounds like a recipe for disaster to me. One slip and you'll over-rev the motor or destroy the clutch or both.

    You should spend the most time easing out the clutch pedal when you're starting from a stop. Once you're moving and shifting gears (up or down) you really shouldn't be spending a lot of time letting the clutch out. If you are, you're doing something wrong.
    Jon

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    Quote Originally Posted by jmortensen View Post
    Agreed, and why would you be shifting to 3rd from the top of 4th? Sounds like a recipe for disaster to me. One slip and you'll over-rev the motor or destroy the clutch or both. You should spend the most time easing out the clutch pedal when you're starting from a stop. Once you're moving and shifting gears (up or down) you really shouldn't be spending a lot of time letting the clutch out. If you are, you're doing something wrong.
    I was using that more as an extreme metaphore but I get what you mean about the potential to over rev. One of the main drags in this town is a highway, so when going from 4th I started to brake, clutch pedal in, let the revs drop about halfway then let out the clutch while still keeping the revs below 4 to 5 thousand. Only to assist in braking. Thought I'd phrase it that just to see if any shifting condition that made that burning smell was allowable which I'm now told is not.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Galaxybj View Post
    A tip I got from an experienced racer way back when - "brakes are cheaper and easier to replace than clutches and transmissions."
    Beat me to it. I'd rather replace nrake pads than a clutch anyway, especially if I have to pay someone else to do it.
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    In my experience, a clutch is used for starting from stop and easing the transition from gear to gear. The only time a clutch would be "slipped" is during the take-off period from stop. I've NEVER had any sort of clutch trouble (the first one lasted 37 years) and wasn't quite used up even then, and I drove the crap out of it, power-shifting, burn-outs, you name it. I routinely use the gears to assist in slowing the car, blipping the throttle to match to the lower gear. Minimal clutch wear....

    If you're having a clutch burning smell, you've got an installation issue or a bad clutch out of the box.
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    James Salvato James Salvato's Avatar
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    There is nothing better than a really fast corner entrance(to fast)light brakes,downshift to second,stabilize the chassis,Then hold the throttle down.I will pass you.sorry....s30 rule...

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    Quote Originally Posted by WingZr0 View Post
    I was using that more as an extreme metaphore but I get what you mean about the potential to over rev. One of the main drags in this town is a highway, so when going from 4th I started to brake, clutch pedal in, let the revs drop about halfway then let out the clutch while still keeping the revs below 4 to 5 thousand. Only to assist in braking. Thought I'd phrase it that just to see if any shifting condition that made that burning smell was allowable which I'm now told is not.
    I'm not really following this, so just to be clear; you use the ENGINE to assist braking, not the clutch. Heel/toe matches the revs so that you can let the clutch out quickly without upsetting the chassis. If you're braking with the clutch, you're doing it wrong.
    Jon

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    So thats how you do it James? And is that a challenge I hear . Jim- I think you about got it. Thought I was doing it right, so what do they mean by "using the engine compression to assist in braking"? I explain a little more clearly EXACTLY what I'm doing. I'm going in a straight line on the highway at 75mph and see a red light ahead. I clutch in, hit the brakes shifting from 4th to 3rd, rpm's now at 2,000, at around 65mph I then let the clutch out a bit till rpm's hit 5,000 making the car stop quicker then put the clutch in again to let the revs drop (it's at this point I smell something), at 50 to 55mph I let the clutch out all the way in 3rd and revs hit about 4,500, then down shift in each consecutive gear as usual coming to a stop. Is it that I'm feathering the clutch too long and that I should actually brake to a lower speed other than 65mph untill I am able to just come straight off the clutch in 3rd or any other gear for that matter?
    Last edited by WingZr0; 02-21-2010 at 04:18 PM.
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    Her Majesty the 26th 26th-Z's Avatar
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    I'm not sure I'm following this either.

    With all respect, Wing. It doesn't sound like you know how to downshift. Here is a basic rule; the clutch pedal is either fully depressed for a gear shift action or your foot isn't on the clutch pedal. Don't ever downshift like you describe! Ever! Never "let the clutch out a bit"! The clutch pedal is either in or out - no in between! Of course you're smelling a burning clutch! You're burning the hell out of it!

    More clutch conservation tips:
    ALWAYS sit at a red light with the car in neutral.
    ALWAYS use your brakes to slow or stop. Only downshift to select the gear you wish to accelerate with - AFTER you finish slowing down.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 26th-Z View Post
    I'm not sure I'm following this either. With all respect, Wing. It doesn't sound like you know how to downshift. Here is a basic rule; the clutch pedal is.... Only downshift to select the gear you wish to accelerate with - AFTER you finish slowing down.
    OHHH DAMN , guess I had that scalding coming ! Now that we understand each othere I thought I was doing a race technique called power braking, or do I have that concept wrong too? Learned how to shift like described in a 70's Honda Civic hatch back, also did it my 88 BMW 320i both of which I never smelled a burning clutch which is why I thoug it unusual.
    Last edited by WingZr0; 02-21-2010 at 12:42 PM.
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    Well hopefully I didn't hurt it to bad since it was only the last 200 miles I drove that way. But still damn, can't believe I was doing that and to a new clutch. Thats just negligent abuse of a Z, hope my parole doesn't get revoked!
    Last edited by WingZr0; 02-21-2010 at 12:23 PM.
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    The cops! ! !

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    Engine braking literally happens when you let off the gas. That's it. If you run the car up to 6000 rpm and push in the clutch, the car will continue on slowly losing speed for a long time, just coasting. If you get the car to 6000 and just take your foot off the gas but don't touch the clutch, the car will slow down pretty rapidly. That is engine braking; that is using the engine's compression to assist in braking.

    I don't know what the name for what you're doing is, other than burning the **** out of the clutch. I would suggest that you find an autocross school near you and attend. It's cheap and they'll help with the rectal/cranial extraction then when you're comfortable there you might try an HPDE or two at a big track. Driving instruction, especially when you're driving and the instructor is sitting next to you pointing out what is going right and wrong, is amazingly helpful.
    Jon

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    Head in ass! Found myself using that term more and more on other people, now I'm the butt of it ! My idea of engine braking was simply go to next lower gear and come straight off the clutch but at a low enough mph speed for that lower gear so when the clutch was released, for that one time only, the revs wouldn't redline. Shifting fast enough that way so the flywheel and trany speed still closely matched never made a burning smell and the clutch never slips. But that feathering stuff did a bad deed. And as the next post is pointing out, I believe I was down shifting WAY TO soon . What does HPDE mean now I need classes ? Thanks guys for helping me out; Case of the Head In Ass, solved.
    Last edited by WingZr0; 02-21-2010 at 02:54 PM.
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    Her Majesty the 26th 26th-Z's Avatar
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    Yea, that'll work. As long as you don't slip the clutch.
    Enjoy the Ride
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    HPDE = High Performance Driver Education
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    Quote Originally Posted by d240zx2 View Post
    HPDE = High Performance Driver Education
    OH Hell yeah, thats for me!
    Last edited by WingZr0; 02-21-2010 at 04:24 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by James Salvato View Post
    There is nothing better than a really fast corner entrance(to fast)light brakes,downshift to second,stabilize the chassis,Then hold the throttle down.I will pass you.sorry....s30 rule...
    I'm right there with you. I'll drive it like I feel and wrench on it as needed. Parts wear out, hands get dirty, wash, repeat.

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